September 21, 2013

A Sharply hit Double: On "Beautifully Unique Sparkleponies".



Kluwe plays in the NFL (hopefully he gets another shot soon), but I am going to use a baseball metaphor.

This book came to me with two strikes against it.  Strike one is that the name of the book is “Beautifully Unique Sparkelponies,”  and strike two was the anti-jock bias that I seem to have.

Here’s where I should say that Kluwe hits it out of the park, but I’m not going to go that far.  It’s more like a sharply hit double in the gap.

This book is mostly essays about politics and football and life.  Reading it, I had trouble getting into it.  I fillow Kluwe on a well-known micro-blogging site, and I like his voice in those small bursts.  It has some issues scaling up, and early on, I wanted to abandon the book.  There are places the essays are over-writen and there is a whole essay about the process of writing –which is important for a writer to think about, but maybe needs to be put in a drawer until the Paris Review comes to interview you.  There’s also a later essay where one-ply toilet paper serves as a vehicle for an extended metaphor.

So I was ready to put it aside, but I did.  It may be juvenile, but Kluwe is also really smart.  I don’t say that just because he has the same politics I do or reads the same authors I read, but it builds in the book to a point where you can’t deny this guy’s smarts –  no matter what biases you bring to the reading.  There’s a short piece on punting that captures that important but ignored part of the game in a way that makes you rethink the punter’s craft.  Over the course of the book, it feels like he finds his voice.  That or I just became accustomed to his unique style and cadences.  I think that if I wrote a book, it would be a lot like “Sparkleponies.”  I hope it would be.